In Mean Girls, how is Kady resocialized to fit into an American high school? How realistic is this compared to WRHS?
Some things to think about….. • Is inequality inevitable? • Is inequality desirable or undesirable for social progress in improving the quality of life for the vast majority of people? • What determines the variability of inequality across the nations of the world? • Is inequality, at least in terms of income and wealth, really a social problem? • Can there be economic inequality and yet political equality? Can, for instance, capitalism coexist with democracy? • In capitalist economies, who should provide the safety nets for those unable to compete, such as because of age or physical or mental disabilities?
What is Social Stratification? • Social Stratification: the creation of layers of people who possess unequal shares of scarce resources. • Resources: • Income • Wealth • Power • Prestige • Social Class: a segment of a population whose members hold similar amounts of scarce resources and share values, norms, and an identifiable lifestyles. • Ex: • Upper, Middle, Lower class • The more developed and complex the society the more social classes. • Americans have a very complex set up.
Wealthy = Small % • Income: amount of money received within a given time period by an individual or group. • Wealth: all the economic resources possessed by an individual or group. • Income is what you are paid; wealth is what you actually own. • In Us: • Richest 20% of populations holds 84% of wealth. • Top 1% holds 39% of wealth alone.
Power and Prestige • Power: ability to control the behavior of others, even against their will. • Those who possess power are able to enhance their own interests but at the expense of society. • Do you have to be wealthy to be powerful????? • Most say no but certainly helps! • Prestige: recognition, respect, and admiration attached to social positions. • Defined by culture and society. • Prestige is earned not claimed • Social positions that are considered the most important or valued the most highly have the most prestige.
Social Classes • Class Consciousness: sense of identification with the goals and interests of the members of a particular social class. • Most Americans do not hold a sense of class consciousness. • Upper Class: 1% of population • Upper-Middle Class: 14 % of population • Middle Class: 30% of population • Working Class (Lower-middle class): 1/3 of population =33% • Underclass: 12 % of population
Theories and Perspectives on Stratification • Functionalists: • Stratification assures that the most qualified people fill the most important positions, qualified people perform their tasks competently, and are rewarded for their efforts. • They are aware of the inequalities based on stratification but feel they are necessary. • Important because it ensures that all positions in society are filled and we can function properly.
Conflict Theory • Inequality exists because some people are willing to exploit others. • Stratification is based on force. • Relates back to Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. • Bourgeoisie vs. Proletariat • Marx’s term false consciousness: refers to working-class acceptance of capitalist ideas and values. • America’s legal and political system is skewed and manipulated by the powerful.
Interactionism • Helps us understand how people are socialized to accept the existing stratification structure. • Those who are “on top” of the social scale have worked hard to get there and those on the bottom lack the talent. • Not something to challenge; legitimizes the process. • This explains why people in the lower class tend to struggle with self- esteem. • Thorstein Veblen: • On top of social hierarchy people typically convert their wealth in 2 ways: • Conspicuous consumption: purchasing more automobiles than they can reasonable use and building houses with 17rooms when only 2 people live there. • Conspicuous leisure: jetting to a remote destination and staying only long enough to have dinner.